The time has come. The time of oppressive heat, puddles of sweat, and general misery is upon us. Summer is finally here.
If you can't already tell, I'm not a big fan of summer, especially here in the south, due to all of the heat, sunlight, and sweating. I can tolerate the summer as long as I have an ice cold drink and a pool to swim in.
What I also don't mind about summer, despite the heat, is the food. Barbecues are front and center this time of year and I am more than happy to brave the elements to be first in line for some good grilling.
Since it is so hot outside, I tend to reach for lighter foods to go with my grilled hotdogs and hamburgers and right now, my go to is pasta salad.
Much like chicken and potato salad, I don't trust just anyone's pasta salad. There are a lot of ways you can make it and a lot of ways it could go wrong. That's why I took it upon myself to make the perfect pasta salad for summer and today, in honor of the first day of summer, I am sharing the recipe with you.
My summer pasta salad may lack several ingredients you are familiar with in the traditional pasta salad. Part of that is because I used what I had on hand and the other part of that is because I just plain old don't like olives. But I promise this recipe is just as yummy as as a traditional pasta salad, if not more so.
All you need to make summer pasta salad is tri-color rotini pasta, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, avocados, and Ken's oil and vinegar dressing. The Ken's dressing is the special ingredient. Without it, you wouldn't have my super special summer pastas salad. So, without further ado, here's my recipe for summer pasta salad!
Tri-color rotini pasta
Ken's oil and vinegar dressing
One of my favorite things about birthdays is all the free things. And I'm not just talking about the presents. I'm talking about all the coupons and goodies you get from being a rewards member at your favorite stores and restaurants. So far, my favorite goodies have been a free scoop of ice cream and Baskin Robbins and free tater tots at Sonic. That coupon for Olive Garden is going to taste mighty good this weekend too. But one birthday reward has blow all the rest out of the water and that is my free gift from being a Sephora Beauty Insider.
May's Beauty Insider birthday gift at Sephora was this cute blush and lipstick combo from Tarte. Anyone who knows me know that I am definitely not going to sneeze at free makeup. In fact, I will more than likely do everything I can to get free makeupt. It was a no brainer to yes to the Tarte duo at the checkout counter, especially when I haven't tried any of their makeup before.
This Tarte combo comes with an Amazonian clay 12-hour blush in the shade paaarty and a tartiest lip paint in the color birthday suit. Lipstick is my weakness. Actually, that's why I was in Sephora in the first place. I was buying my birthday lipstick. (I chose Stila stay all day liquid lipstick in perla, but that's a different story.) I was eager to get this Tarte freebie home and try it on.
This Tarte lip paint is fantastic! This lipstick has a cool mint smell and goes on like a dream. It felt so light on my lips. Not to mention, the shade is a dark dusty rose color that makes for the perfect nude lip. And the Tarte blush is a nice light pink color that didn't make my already rosy cheeks too rosy. I usually stay away from blush for this very reason, but I have a feeling I will be picking this one up often.
Let this blog post serve as a reminder to you that when your birthday rolls around, don't forget to check everywhere you are a rewards member with so you can get your free goodies too! Tarte is a great brand and if you haven't already, check out their makeup!
Things have been crazy for me these last few months. I have not had time to maintain my website like I should due to producing an awards show in Las Vegas, graduating, and turning 21, but now that things are winding down, prepare for a Beanies & Weenies like you've never seen before.
This past semester was rough. I was taking 17 credit hours worth of classes and working as an editor at ECU's student newspaper. On top of that, I was part of a specially chosen group of students who flew to Las Vegas at the end of April to attend the National Association of Broadcasters convention and produce the Best of Festival awards show for the Broadcast Educators Association. I have been a busy bee since February!
Now that graduation is over and my birthday has passed (I finally turned 21!), I plan on dedicating a lot more time into Beanies & Weenies and my freelance services. For starters, I plan on updating this website and posting many more blog posts with cool patterns and tutorials. I also plan crochet a giant inventory of goodies for Etsy, local markets, and maybe, just maybe, a few giveaways (shhhhh!).
Anyway, that was my quick update. Check back later this week for what could be a fun crochet pattern or interesting DIY. I haven't decided yet.
Until then, check out these pictures to see what I've been up to for the last 3 months!
With the Super Bowl less than 24 hours away, chicken wings and dips are being prepared for chowing down during game day all across the country. If you are in search of a last-minute dish to take to a Super Bowl party or just one more item to add to your menu, I have just the recipe for you: homemade cheese fries.
Cheese fries are my specialty. To me, there is nothing like picking up a french fry covered in ooey-gooey cheese. They are the perfect side dish for a Super Bowl party buffet line because they can be enjoyed by themselves or as a side with meatballs, wings, fajitas, and so much more.
I make cheese fries so regularly that I have perfected my recipe. They are my go-to snack and side dish because they are easy to make and the ingredients are cheap and readily available at any grocery store- which makes them perfect for the Super Bowl. I have spent numerous hours trying to make mine taste as good as the appetizers at Chili's and Texas Steakhouse and I think I have finally succeeded.
The trick to making Cheese fries is a combination of ingredients and cook time. Colby jack cheese is the best cheese for cheese fries. Sharp cheddar is a decent alternative. I also recommend using steak fries as opposed to shoestring and crinkle cut fries because they are wide enough to pick up a good helping of melted cheese.
I like my cheese fries to have crispy edges and soft middles. Every brand of french fries has different directions on the bag, but I have found that cooking them at 400-450 degrees for 20-25 minutes works best. I leave mine in for about 21 minutes and let them finish cooking after I add the cheese.
Making cheese fries is one of the simplest things in the world and it has such yummy results! So, if you are looking for a last minute Super Bowl dish, then look no further than my game day cheese fries recipe.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: apprx. 30 minutes
***For an added bite to your ranch, use my go-to spicy ranch recipe: mix a few spoonfuls of cayenne powder into a dipping bowl full of ranch until it has a red tint and as much bite as you like.
And that's it! That's all it takes for you to make a delicious dish for game day that will be a hit with the crowds. If you use my recipe for cheese fries to eat during the Super Bowl, let me know! Tag me on social media with #beaniesnweenies and let me know how it turned out!
Sorry for the radio silence over the last month- I have been super busy starting a new semester and settling into my role as Arts & Entertainment Editor at my college newspaper. Somewhere in between all that, I found the time to make a short film and enter the Campus MovieFest contest at ECU!
I am so thrilled with the results. My movie was a campus finalist which means it was one of the top 16 at ECU out of 44 movies. Not to mention, I had the honor of followed the cutest movie star in the world around for 24 hours to film it.
Anyway, as I'm gearing up to share game day recipes and Valentine's Day crafts with you this upcoming week, check out my short film "Jim." It's about a savage beast that terrorizes one single apartment. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
I love a cold smoothie. When everything is so doggone hot during the summer, a frozen treat like this just hits the spot. One of my all time favorite flavors is strawberry banana. It's a classic. Over time, I have perfected my own strawberry banana smoothie recipe and even found a way to make it a complete, balanced breakfast for eating on the go.
Earlier in the year, I blogged about healthy smoothies for breakfast. This recipe is an extension of that. Essentially, what you need for a strawberry banana smoothie is, of course, strawberries, bananas, and milk, but I added a few things to make it my own.
First, I started by freezing fresh strawberries and bananas by smoothie portion. Or you could just buy the pre-frozen fruit. You're choice. That keeps you from having to use crushed ice and it getting all gross and watery as it melts in the summer heat. Since I like my smoothies a bit thicker, I scoop about 3 spoonfuls of Greek yogurt into my blender then add the frozen fruit and blend it just a little to make room for the rest of the ingredients.
Next I add just a splash of milk and the equivalent of two spoonfuls of honey. Honey is a great natural sweeter and I can't get enough of it. I probably actually add more like 3-4 spoonfuls. Then I add a scoop of protein powder to keep me fuller longer and a small handful of spinach to make the smoothie energizing. From here I blend it all up until it's smooth, adding more yogurt and fruit as necessary. I generally like to fill my single serve blender to the top.
And, viola! There's you're healthy, summer treat. A strawberry banana smoothie is my go to smoothie. What's yours? Let me know in the comments. Maybe I have my own recipe for your favorite smoothies!
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One of the best parts about summer nights is spending it cooking around a fire, especially on a camping trip when you make this twist on a classic camping dessert: smores campfire cones. Smores are a classic crowd pleasing dessert. It has everything you could want in a camping dessert. Smores are crunchy, gooey, and sweet. Kids of all ages adore smores and making a smores campfire cone makes the experience even sweeter and a tad less messy. With Summer right around the corner, what more could you ask for?
Campfire cones takes the best part of smores and lets you customize it any way you want to. You can add anything to a campfire cone. I like to put marshmallows, chocolate, strawberries, and bananas in mine, but you cad add everything from Reese's Pieces to caramel candy into yours. That's great for large crowds with a variety of tastes. Campfire cones are delicious and easy to make. They are perfect for Summer night snacking!
Whether you plan to spend your summer nights around a campfire on the beach or around a fire pit in your backyard, these smores campfire cones summer camping dessert will be a hit and here is a recipe on how to make them:
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If you like this summer camping recipe, check out my recipe for easy hobo dinners for camping! And spread the word to your fellow campers :)
During my camping trip back in March, I came up with an easy hobo dinner recipe that incorporated everyone's favorite flavors. A hobo dinner is a wonderful meal to make while camping. They are generally mess-free, take little effort to put together, and are made individually so it requires very little dishes that need to be washed afterwards! That's an added benefit if you are going on a bare-bones camping trip.
Making this easy hobo dinner recipe was so much fun. I wasn't going by a pre-existing recipe- I made it up as I went along. I had heard about hobo dinners when looking for a camping recipe earlier in the week. Leading up to dinner, we had spent the day trekking all over the place. After we made scrambled eggs and toast on the camping stove we had, we left to go to the beach where we visited the Fort Macon National Park and walked their nature trails. When we got back to the site we were camping at, we hiked the nature trails around the camp and walked along the beach on the Neuse River. By the time the sun started to set, we were starving. I started prepping each hobo dinner right before the sun started to set and I had the packets on the coals right as it got dark.
It didn't take very long to cook or prep each hobo dinner. I took several of each kind of vegetable we used, but found that we barely needed a whole one for all four packets. Some of my friends even opened theirs up with 10 minutes to go and poured some barbecue sauce on top. I left mine how it was and it tasted fantastic, especially since I didn't go by a recipe. It was a nice, hearty meal that was great to eat after such an active day full of camping activities. If you are going camping this spring or summer, you need to make your own easy hobo dinner to share with friends and here's a recipe to show you how:
Prep Time: Approx. 20 Minutes
Cook Time: Approx. 30 Minutes
Seriously, it's that easy! Everyone loved this recipe I put together. It was the perfect camping meal. It has such a rich, savory flavor from where all the meat and vegetables cooked together. It was even fun to make! Cooking it over the fire was the ultimate camping experience. Something about the roaring fire was very relaxing amid the hectic, cold night we experienced. You need to start a new campfire if you are planning cooking over it. If you need help figuring out how to make a blazing campfire, read some helpful tips here. And if you need more tips and tricks for you own camping adventures, check out the ones listed here. Have fun on your camping adventures and enjoy your own easy hobo dinner!
When you have as much going on as I do, a large number of printables are required for staying organized. On any given day, I have at least ten must-accomplish items on my To-Do lists that are for at least 5 different projects, jobs, or assignments. That's why I LOVE printables. Every college student feels the pressure of staying organized. Managing 5 classes, an internship, and a job can be like trying to stay afloat in quicksand. My main problem is that I am never able to find one single planner that suits my needs. So, as part of my Spring Cleaning and organization, I decided to make one. To keep up with my 5 classes, 5 jobs, and new internship, I use a variety of calendars, week-view schedules, and to-do lists to stay organized. To me, nothing is better than a good to-do list. It helps you keep track of an prioritize your goals. In creating these free printables, I made them customizeable so that anyone can assemble their own planner to meet there needs. Here are my tips for staying organized and using the free printables you get when signing up for Beanies & Weenies newsletters below:
Get The Right Tools
Not only is a good planner, or the right printables, necessary for staying organized, but so is the right tools. I would start with thesecolored tabbed dividers/sticky notes can mark important your most important pages and allow you to write quick notes without marking on the actual page. And they're a great size to use with free printables. You also need highlights to attract your eyes to important events, deadlines, and notes. These clear-view highlighters let you see what your highlighting. Lastly, you need to get fine tip pens so you can write in the smallest of spaces. These fine tipped pens come in a large variety of colors- perfect for color coding!
Color coding can be a giant time saver when it comes to staying organized. With just one quick glance, you can use color coding to tell you what you have coming up. I use color to indicate differences between tests and quizzes, projects, homework, articles due for the newspaper, and any projects due for my freelance work. Needless to say, having a variety in colored pens and highlighters really comes in handy. Since most printables are black and white, bright colors stand out real well.
Keep it All Together
Office Depot offer great binding services. You can print out all your free printables, assemble them in the right order, and then take them to Office Depot for binding. You can choose from several binding options including different spines and cover materials. Or, for an alternate option, use a three-hole punch and a three-ring binder to keep all your free printable planner pages together instead. I keep one monthly calendar for every job I work plus school, so it is important for me to make sure all my printables stay together.
Update Your To-Do List Everyday
It is important to always make changes to your planner, your to-do list specifically, every time a change a occurs or else you're going to forget it. After all, that's what staying organized is all about. Cross off old tasks as you complete them, always write down important dates and times as soon as you learn about them, and reorganize the order of your to-do list to reflect what's most important. For me, rewriting my to-do list works best. It lets me add new things throughout the day and put the most important at the top the next day. I purposely created these free printables that had a master, daily to-do list because they keep me so organized and on track.
To start using your own free printables from Beanies & Weenies and start staying organized, sign up below!
If you found this information helpful, love the free printables, or have any suggestions about staying organized, leave me a comment. And check out more helpful blog posts:
Hey guys! Sorry for the radio silence as of recently, but I've been on Spring Break and taking as much needed time off as I could. While I remained quite busy during Spring Break, I was able to catch up on my sleep which was my main goal. I was also able to catch up on some crochet orders that I can't wait to share with you. What I'm most excited to share with you is my amazing camping recipes and cooking tips. Yes, that's right. I said camping.
Over our Spring Break, my friends, my boyfriend, and I took the cheap way out and went camping near the coast. While it was still very cold at night, we all had a blast and made some pretty awesome campfire meals as a result of it. Here are some pictures to prove it.
Pretty rad, huh? We camped on the sound side on the Neuse River. We could hear the river washing up on shore at night and we were completely surrounded by the Croatan National Forest. Most importantly, the campsite we chose had bathhouses with warm water. Thank goodness. Camping was I hoot, but it did get boring after sunset when you couldn't see past your hands. I totally recommend camping for anyone who hasn't done it before. It'll teach you a thing or two about appreciating what you've got because I'll tell you what, I never slept as good as I did when I got back home to my own bed.
There's plenty coming up to look forward to here at Beanies & Weenies. Here's a sneak peek so you'll know what's coming:
Keep checking in for more of these awesome posts and more!
If you're interested in any of the upcoming posts above, check these out in the meantime:
I'm Jennifer, a 21 year-old crochet, craft, and DIY enthusiast who loves sharing her projects with the world. I hope you find inspiration in my posts. Keep checking back for new projects every week and don't forget to sign up for Beanies & Weenies newsletters!
Jennifer Hines is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.